PetaPixel

US Gov Sues The Art Institutes for $11 Billion Fraud

The Art Institutes, one of the nation’s largest for-profit school systems where people can receive an education in photography, has come under fire. Last month, the US Department of Justice filed a massive lawsuit against the company behind the schools, Education Management Corporation, accusing it of fraudulently collecting $11 billion in government aid by recruiting low-income students for the purpose of collecting student aid money. Whistleblowers claim that students graduate loaded with debt and without the means to pay off the loans, which are then paid for with taxpayer dollars.

David Walker at PDN writes,

At the Art Institute of Pittsburgh campus alone, there were reportedly about 600 photography students pursuing a bachelor of arts or associates degree as of last summer, says Kathleen A. Bittel, the whistleblower whose testimony before a US Senate committee last fall helped trigger the federal lawsuit against EDMC.

[…] “Where are 600 photography graduates going to go? You cannot absorb that many in one city. How are they going to make money?” she says.

Bittel says EDMC had plans last summer to increase its photography student enrollment by adding a 12-15 month diploma to the program. The new degree was intended to attract students who wanted a “quick fix” in the form of a degree they could earn faster than an associate’s degree with minimal effort, Bittel says. “If the bachelors students can’t find jobs, where are the students with [12-month diplomas] going to go?”

One former student they contacted commented that, “It’s like they’re pumping photographers out like little cookie cutters.”

The Art Institutes: Legitimate Photo Schools or Accessories to Fraud? (via DWF)


Image credit: The Art Institute of California – San Francisco by sebastianjt


 
  • MM

    I’m so torn about my feelings towards this school. I attended the SF location pictured above and really enjoyed the majority of the instructors and made some amazing friends and colleges in the field.

    Due to unforeseen health issues, I had to quit near the end of my bachelors. By the time I was healthy enough to finish, I was living half way across the country and the online version of the school would not accept the credits from the campus! I had to spend months on the phone with the dean of the SF campus before I was able to downgrade to the associates and finish remotely.

    The problem is the $160k I’m sitting on in college debt, constantly raising due to interest. The last I checked my base payment on all loans was $60k a month!

    Sure, I have an industry job… but I only make $10/h while working 40 hours a week. Exactly how am I supposed to pay off that degree?

  • anonymous

    I know Shane and he is right. Complete waste but the VA wont reassign you. Once you’re there you are stuck or you pay out of pocket. Sorry you had to go through this man. The miami location will be gone soon. I have never seen such poorly written research papers. And they were on a QEP push last year to satisfy the accreditation of SACS. Anyway, The building will eventually be demolished like the herald building to make way for the casinos. It’s in a horrible area and they even charge you for parking without reimbursement. The cafe is disgusting and also costs an insane amount to the average student. But those high class rich students surely have no problem. The faculty ignores any criticism you provide them. Problems there escalate and see no resolve. It’s run like a mafia. If you observe the professors engaging in wrongdoing, approaching the chain of command is worthless. It’s almost like they hear your complaint and reassure you that they haven’t heard this problem from anyone else. That is completely false. I know for a fact that I am from a group of vets that go in about the same issues and they were told the same thing. Nobody else seems to have an issue so we’ll just ignore you. Complete crap. I can go on and on for pages and pages about the reasons you should not attend this institution. I’m going to wrap up with this, save your money and save your sanity, skip enrollment into this this university. It isn’t worth the drama.

  • Mark ‘Storm’ Farnik

    Would any of the former AI students here be interested in filing a class action lawsuit against AI of America? I got suckered into the Art Institute of Colorado, and blew $14,000 in one semester before I got smart and got the hell out of there. I’ve been waiting on this litigation to come out officially, but now I feel like it’s time that we, the students, who have been bilked of millions of dollars and left with useless degrees and inadequate training, sue them and put them out of business for their corrupt practices.

  • Robert

    so if they are doing that and some of the students used their GI Bill for it are they going to receive a refund of it?

  • Heaven Kincaid

    Not only do they not provide the tools, but they more or less(as of 8 years ago) charged students around $1100 to sit in a class for 4 hours, per class, per week. Teachers that consistently get complaints for not actually teaching and who regularly have a low output of competent students do not get reprimanded or replaced. And not a cent of the money that students pay per week, per class, goes to help them get the supplies they need to pass the class. Photography is actually the least expensive degree they offer when it comes to out of pocket costs for supplies. The other degrees can easily cost a student hundreds of dollars out of pocket in supplies for the quarter for each class they take.

    At the Pittsburgh branch(8 years ago, I’m not sure what it is now) most students depend on public transportation which is also not included in tuition costs like it is in other colleges and universities in the area; and cost over $70 a month for an unlimited monthly pass.

    The Pittsburgh branch also used a loophole(The other ones probably do it to) to get even more money out of their students by dramatically increasing the prices of room and board every quarter. It’s not part of “tuition” so they used it to rob their students blind. In the time I spent living in their housing, before I found enough friends to move out with, they increased my room and board by 300 a month, enough to clear the overhead on my grants, loans, and scholarships and start digging into my pockets. They also practiced policies of not fixing damages to the rooms so that they could always have an excuse to not pay back your security deposits, so every time you moved to a new room or they moved you, chances were good that you would have to pay a new security deposit because so many things were wrong with the rooms that you weren’t going to catch them all in your move in room eval. I once spent a quarter in a room with 5 holes in the walls and slept on a broken bed every night. I didn’t finish my degree. I left. It wasn’t worth it. Community college gives you a better education for your art degree and money. Hell, you can spend $299 a year on a subscription to the Stan Winston School of Art’s website and get a better education than they offer.

  • Heaven Kincaid

    They don’t provide you the tools you need to succeed. If you don’t come into the school with money falling out of your pockets and demonstrable talent enough to get a job without the degree then you aren’t going to leave with it either. I know from experience.

  • Heaven Kincaid

    While I agree that it should be goal to come out able to adapt to new technologies, I can’t on good conscience use that as an excuse to say it’s OK for a multi-billion-dollar school to not provide it’s students with the best advantages possible by providing the most up to date software and equipment. It’s ridiculous to even think that this is OK.

    Time after time after time, the only people I ever saw do well in these schools were people who went into them already perfectly capable of getting a job. These particular students were lavished and praised in every class. The teachers were perfectly happy to hand them, and the rest of their classes, assignments without teaching anything and use the already perfectly capable students as an excuse to not care about the rest of classes’ success or failure. They were there essentially to put projects in their portfolios, something they also could have done without the school.

    The fact of the mater is that now having AI on your resume without any other reference to your skill or experience in the field will more often than not get it thrown in the trash. Employers prefer other art colleges(like FullSail and SCAD) because having a degree from those schools actually speaks for your skill in the field. Those schools have standards; AI does not. If the school you go to doesn’t do anything but add projects to your portfolio then you’re wasting your money. Craig’s list can do that.

  • Kari

    Maybe those photographers aren’t that talented. You have to stand out in that field. I personally attended the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and had multiple job offers at my portfolio show. I worked for a major apparel company in Pittsburgh and then went on to work as a designer/photographer for another in Southern California. The amount of debt is disconcerting, but there should be a filtering program to that school. It shouldn’t be open to every kid. Half of those students were lazy, partying, weed-smoking kids who did everything last minute with no heart. To be successful in the art world, you have to look beyond what it “required” of you. Your portfolio needs to stand out. It’s like a sport where kids aren’t willing to hit the gym and do extra conditioning to be a starter. There are multiple factors in the lack of jobs… blame should not be put on EDMC or the Art Institutes alone.

  • Christian Žagarskas

    I dont know if I agree with one single RED cent of this. I went to AIP for a very simple set of reasons: basically, I knew I was going to a for profit school and I knew I was going to teach myself and I knew I needed some kind of degree that said “I know this see the degree” – I did not want a School, I wanted a gladiator arena, a proving ground and I got exactly what I paid for and I loved it. I read CMU books because I could not get into CMU, I watched MIT videos because I could not get into MIT, I went to AIP who takes anyone for enough money and I learned what I wanted to learn in addition to the curriculum.

  • disqus_4XOT9SFzIv

    I want to sue the Art Institute in Henderson, Las Vegas area over the cost of student housing. I went to orientation and they told me how safe this place was. My daughter signed a lease for so called student housing while half of the housing was locals drinking beer by the pool. It was half student housing and half rejects thrown into an apartment complex. I went through 9 grand in a Parent Plus loan in 2 quarters thinking I was keeping my daughter in good hands…a total rip off…college kids can live in dorms and a deception of a fancy apartment is not the way to go. I mean you are talking $1,950.00 per quarter. per girl….4 girls per apartment…what does that add up to? And then they have to buy their own food. You cannot eat your apartment. I did not take out loans to send my daughter to some fancy apartment complex, I sent my daughter to go to college…So if there is a good real estate attorney out there, let me know…her lease had not a set amount in there and I can see that the apartment complex is up for sale. this is not a college………has nothing to do with every other arts college..this is all for profit between the stockholders and who owns the real estate involved…..

  • Rick Bauer

    It’s nothing more than a very expensive diploma mill.

  • liz4horses

    I was getting my PhD at a very prestigious science institute as part of the perks of my job. I got very ill and went into an online program at one of the so called “best” online schools. To tell the truth, the education was good, most of the teachers are from prestigious colleges, universities and institutes. The Dean when I started was a great person…..but they got rid of him. I just needed a PhD to get paid on projects I was designing that required a PhD to get paid, I was tired of designing projects, getting the grants, and then being told someone with a PhD was going to direct MY project and get all the money. BUT I had to do a specific dissertation, and I was brain injured in a corporate liability situation and had to have a mentor and ADA adaptations. I met a combat soldier who also was brain injured. BOTH of us got ALL the way through, with great grades. Guess what? NO ADA for brain injured persons, only a computer, when what we needed was special editing help for the APA on the final paper……..I specifically had asked if we got one, and if it would be paid for. They said yes, that did not happen. I was stuck with over seventy thousand dollars in federal financial aid, and no degree. Luckily I was hit by two kids racing, they turned my big four wheeler into a ball of scrap and me into a ball of injuries, I just recently got off crutches and braces, and can not walk well, or get out of a chair, SO I got the loans written off. BUT the over thirty thousand dollars of my own, out of pocket money is just gone. I hope they get these suckers. The veteran in a similar situation with brain injuries? Just no degree because they had no one to help him with the ADA on the final edit and defense which they SAY they have. I called UCLA, and knew from the place I came from that THEY had them. The illness turned out to be cancer, I was so fortunate to get a research cancer team from UCLA/USC and have my life saved when they finally found out what it was. I never quit school, and so sick, with surgeries and radiation for months and radiation sickness for years………I finished, MY project was an expansion of a program THREE Presidents including the current one, have the GAO working on to make public agencies stop wasting money, and serve the people (such as veterans) better. I got told by one mentor that it was anti-government, How the hell could it be, I was referred to Cabinet Secretaries by the White House itself, and THEY all told me, we want to see this when it is done.

  • A.d. Gonzalez

    i was a victim of this and thank God i left after the 2nd quarter something was WAAAAY TOO FISSHY! they had kids with no art talent what
    so ever.. i saw some of their work and portfolios and they looked like 5th grade trace work. I was a freelance animator and wanted to get a degree in animation and to catch up on the technology… nope such BS.

    They were taking anyone…
    My potfoliio was supposedly looked at by a profession, they walked out with my work came back 8 mins later… I will admit I was naive, but i never realized what these guys were doing!

  • Rolando Alamillo

    It’s the same culinary and baking students. Some don’t find jobs but the schools have no problem collecting money from them.

  • Rachel Hoffman

    I go to the Art Institute of York – Pennsylvania and it’s the same there. There has been a time when small bombs were put on porches and set off. We pay out the ass to stay there and it’s not even safe. If anyone chooses to go to an Art Institute, they’re better off getting an apartment off campus. It’s a hell of a lot cheaper; like $500-$600 cheaper.

  • Kal

    Oh trust me I went to one cause sounded good but then suddenly they wernt giving me my financial aid until nearly the end of the quarter and I ended up with a lot of stress and health problems because I had no money for food or transportation or books or even rent, all of which they were supposed to pay for and every year seemed like got less and less when finally would get it even though we sat down and figured out what I’d need. They kept taking more out of my check going “Oh well we wouldn’t want to risk your mom getting rejected for the loan if she takes out too much”, and ended up I barely could pay the rent, nevermind all the other stuff I needed. Ended up failing out because I couldn’t get to class cause couldn’t get there and none of the teachers were willing to help, even if they litarlly drove right past the building in the morning, and I was sick all the time because through the 11 week quarters I often wouldnt get it until the 9th or 10th week and it was barely anything. They also kept saying I owed them money for classes, which is what the finanical aid was supposed to pay for and then some. Brother is having the same problems and mom is thinking they are taking money from people and trying to hold on to it as long as possible for whatever reason for interest collected or something and then giving people less than what they signed for

    I had a teacher that was a major Disney animator but he quit because he was pissed off at the school too, especially how the rooms were so small and crowded and they didn’t have a lot of the supplies needed for the classes and what they did have was subpar or barely worked.

  • Kal

    I hadnt had any teachers laugh at me, but biggest problem I had was since was a Media Arts and Animation teacher I NEEDED to use the computer lab, but there was a teacher in there was even though his classes were small, if he has a class in there he didnt want other people in there too because they didn’t pay for the class he was teaching. Only other room with computers I could use was the art room where they have figure studies, and couldnt be in there either if I wasn’t in the class because of the models. Problems there is that was all the damn time during the only times I didn’t have classes and could do it unless I stayed there after 10pm until 2am or so… well until they changed it so you have to be out of the building by a certain time which was 11 or 12pm. Complaining A LOT to the dean fixed that enough so that I could get in there to do my damn work, though I’d always get dirty looks from the teacher for being in there. Most of the other teachers seemed to genuinely want to help, but they were also pretty new and came from other places. Having a class with Philo Barnhart (look him up) was amazing, but he quit because he was pissed off about how things were at the school too

  • Shane Basye

    “If Wall Street can borrow money at .75% Interest so can college students. We need to stop treating student as profit centers”

    I am a victim of this. They tell you of how great the school is and that you are almost guaranteed to get a amazing job. More than half of my graduating class are struggling to pay their loans including myself. Something needs to be done here. They trick fresh out of high school students that this is the right choice and it will lead to a big career. All they are doing is profiting and setting up debt for these poor kids. There needs to be some kind of action to where these schools are closely monitored. Its a huge scam that needs to be recognized. Not just the photography program, but all majors and all Art schools. If there government can relief Boing and Nasa then… help out the young adults responsible for our future. Im going to be paying these criminals until I perish for what was said to be “The beginning of a successful career.”

    How is it ok to over-populate theses schools when there aren’t hardly enough jobs out there? And the jobs that do exist have horrible pay. Not enough for a graduate to support themselves putting further financial stress on their parents and family members.

    Something needs to be done NATIONALLY for all current students and Alumni.

    This is very sad.

    Profiting of the kids of our future.

  • Janice Itsaboutjesus Moore

    My daughter attended the art institute in Atlanta in the early 20000’s and is still being hunted with debt she accrued from them

  • kso721

    no doubt. those guys must hate shooting for playboy and getting all those models half naked…

  • Nazonee

    My son is at Westwood for the animation degree. They were not providing the required Gen Ed classes so when his funding ran out they tried to dump him saying that the government “now” required these and they hadn’t budgeted his funds for it! Being he was 9 courses away and has already had some recognition with the Disney Studios, we are now paying for the remainder out of pocket. I think they too need to be investigated. We contacted the Illinois Department of Education after this runaround began, due to the fact that once he had the funding, ie: his dad’s 401K, that Westwood stated they were discontinuing that program and he would have to travel approximately 50 miles on public transportation to complete this program. They are BS and had I know this was where he was going to go I would have attempted to halt that decision. He is an adult, who works at a dead-end job and the draw was powerful…Hoping that his portfolio will spark interest other than Disney. However, we shall see.

  • Rocco Owens

    Instead of filing the suit the Fed Gov’t should have the school pay the students back their worthless degrees!

  • Peter Be

    As a former graduate from 2001 from the Art institutes of Ft. lauderdale, I can totally back up any claims this school is a cookie cutter pumping and totally accepting of anyones background just to fill in the class room kinda educational school. Lets also talk about education. It took me 6-9 months of late night hard work just to catch up to the industry when I first graduated because the major agency I started working for had said I had received a sub par teaching of industry practice and basically i was lost for a while designing and had just broad skills sets that could get me by at kinkos and not a real agency. I’m very inclined to believe the agency was spot on when they said this and luckily were cool enough to let me learn and grow on their dime. At AIFL I was told I was getting cutting edge education from teachers who were the best in their fields and provided up to date teaching and practices by industry (at that time) and that any agency or place would be knocking down my door ready to hire me. Guess what, that hole spiel was a giant lie. The teachers were old, irrelevant, wash ups and burn outs that had not stepped into an agency environment for at least 10 yrs or higher. Their skills sets and ability to teach current trends and how to stay current or stay on top of design trends was deplorable. Where talking about teachers who couldn’t even teach me the basic principles of color correction, ink densities, profiling, overprinting, the list goes on just for one program alone. I was grossly in debt with an extremely sub par education (mind you i graduated with my BA in graphic design, top of my class, and with awards under my belt), and as i worked over the years I had questioned my educational experience at AIFL and believed to myself later on that it was totally NOT WORTH IT. Had I gone to another school I probably wouldn’t be throwing up in my mouth every time i see a commercial about AI or hearing stories about how awesome it is to go there. Seeing this article doesn’t shock me, and reading all the negative reviews doesn’t shock me either. AI is a giant smoke screen of BS. Even my counselors were sub par, sending me to interviews to places that weren’t even asking for graphic designer, they were asking for other fields, what is that sh*t lol? Seriously?! I hope the school loses the lawsuit. The only reason (now 13 years later) I have been successful as an art director/designer was because I self taught myself everything I was never taught at AI and also completely discharged their entire way of teaching from my brain and rebuilt my education from the ground up again on my own. Anyone trying to go there, STAY AWAY. Find education some place else or you’ll be stuck with people laughing at your face when you hand in a resume just like I did back in 2001. Once I took AIFL off my resume, people took me more serious. What does that say to you….

  • CaptSpiffy

    As a former student, and someone who did a bit of research, apparently that 89.9% job placement rate is them counting ANY former student who found ANY job. if you graduate from AI and end up waiting tables, or working at Starbucks, they still count that as a job placed.

  • Phil Madrigal

    I think they need to look into platt college never got any help at to find employment at least im working in my field just not earning the money that they lead you to believe. Yup Platt College in Ontario, Ca everybody’s a Graphic Designer or does Web terrible staff they dont care about the students.

  • Foster Goldstrom

    Can’t you remember matchbook covers… if you can draw this dog, you can get into art school…

  • Steven Seagull

    They said I would be drawing movie quality effects in 6 months. All i learned was how to draw an ASCII finger. ………………………………………._¸„„„„_

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  • kinkinhood

    You’re with hra as well? Which facility are you at? Are you a RA0 or RAT?

  • ersander

    This is dead on. I went to ai of ft laud, and i landed a great job in the field well before graduation, a success of which i can accredit nearly “0” to my classes there. In fact, what i can accredit my success to is my early awareness that the curriculum/teachers weren’t going to get me even close to the level i knew i needed to be to make it. That the quality of work i saw coming out of other programs blew anything from ai out of the water…and i knew they were my competition in the field so i took my education into my own hands (even had a dialog with vancouver film school to start there in case my own studies didnt get me where i needed to be). Im doing great now, but am incredibly bitter about my 1k a month payment i make for the “education” that my teachers themselves would not only admit they had absolutely nothing to do with, but in fact will openly admit they would consult me for program advice and know how by the time i graduated. Im constantly hounded by the school to do talks and featured in “success” stories (of which i turn down), this is in no way a reflection of my own prosperity, but rather a direct result of SO FEW people that are able to “make it” coming from there. Glad even a sliver of the biggest scam on our generation is finally being exposed.

  • Cory McCusker

    That’s what you get for letting government be involved in education and the funding of said education. A private investor would never back an art degree. The free market would have fixed this decades ago.

  • Polisonico

    Maybe if they had found Petapixel first…

  • Robert Wade

    This isn’t even the tip of it, when I first signed up there they told me it’d be all the fed loans and grants, plus A SINGLE $25,000 private student loan. Well, come the end of my first full year there and I’m well over $60,000 in debt and they’re trying to convince me to take out ANOTHER (this would be my third) $25,000 loan. I feel they were in cahoots with Wells Fargo which is who they seriously recommended getting the loans through. Well I ditched that place and have been paying off all my debt with my grandpa for the last few years by means of me+alaskanslavelabor=quickchunksofcash unfortunately even when everything is paid off none of my credits are transferable to a real school, so now I’m 23 with a decent credit score and nothing else to show for it, but some tendinitis. Also the teachers there are a joke, I think I had one or two teachers who didn’t see their job as a means of dick flexing to hopefuls in their own industry that none of them were that important in (ie my 3d modeling teacher designed the little sisters in bioshock2, not the good one) But my whole point is the gov isn’t gonna even come close to rectifying the damage this corporation has done, not just to me, but thousands of other chumps. There’s a few success stories supposedly, but I’ve never met any myself.

  • Robert Wade

    The majority of jobs of my friends who graduated from the Ai-SF said job placement was pretty much only finding them starbucks jobs, and they’re dudes who got a BA in computer science for programming.

  • Guest

    $11 billion dollars! That’s like 11 healthcare websites!

  • Kevin Swarner

    As a former AI student myself, I’d be able to back up the lack of “necessary tools to succeed” statement through experience. I was in the animation program for 6 of the planned 12 quarters and got out knowing no more than I did going in; having just screwed around with Flash/Toon Boom and drawing as a hobby for half my life, prior to when I enrolled.

    It’s not necessarily the teachers who are to blame, either, because I met some people who were truly great at what they did. It’s the course requirements and quality of work they are tasked with pushing through. I put dozens of hours into layouts and character designs, and knew people to received the same grade, even though theirs were on lined paper from an old notebook; still with the torn fringes from the binding.

    Call me bitter, but the amount of work I put in, while juggling just commuting to Philadelphia and back, as well as a near full-time job, would be considered the bare minimum somewhere like RISD or even Moore. So, what is the bare minimum for AI? It’s pathetic.

    Few leave there any better off than if they’d simply dedicated the 3 years (or more), and the money they spent, on just practicing in their own time. Granted, the access to technology to learn on is one thing they may not have had elsewise, but having the technology and knowing it inside and out are vastly different things.

    I got out halfway through, having skated by on a 529 plan and spending nothing out of pocket on anything but commuting and supplies; all the while, avoiding loans like the plague. Some of the kids I met, probably not so much.

    This isn’t new either. This lawsuit, or at least another like it, has been pending for the better part of the last five years. It’s an ongoing problem, where AI is presented as the fast-track, cheaper alternative to more established schools, and so they attract those people who would not otherwise be able to afford them without some kind of loan assistance.

    And then they just keep piling them in…

  • Kevin Swarner

    If he’s getting ANY form of recognition from Disney, he’s done with school. If he’s got the portfolio to back himself up, they are most certainly NOT going to look at his transcript and say “Well, it looks like you didn’t finish English Comp. 2, in your 5th quarter, so…”

    As a fellow animation student; congratulations to him, but save your money. If they really are interested in him, all he should have to do is inquire about an internship and not stop asking until he’s got it. Disney don’t recruit often, and especially not lightly. ONLY have him finish if a job placement stipulation is that he has completed, and ONLY if that job is guaranteed upon completion.

  • Kevin Swarner

    eeehhhh… I’d be careful about how heated you want to get on that. I went to AiPh, too. That one’s real. It’s just a risk to his position to actually mention WHICH team.

    CP86; Bill Martone says hi, btw.

  • Kimberly Wojciechowski

    there is one thing that bugs me about AILV, even though i am a student at ALIV, they want the students to get internships on their own. how are they supposed to get a internships on their own if they don’t know anybody in their field….

  • Kolber

    I went to AI Los Angeles and it was such a sham. This is a money making education business and if I could, I would advise anyone who planned to go to AI to steer clear. Granted, this lawsuit probably won’t affect the hundreds of students who have attended the school, but they really do need to be held accountable for the schemes they’ve put together to rip off students trying to get a higher education. It’s ridiculous in the first place that college, for any major, should be turned into a business. But that a school should get away with as many empty promises as this one is almost incredulous. I hope the government wins and it forces AI to either reform or ship out.

  • Sean Lake

    there are a few other schools much like this. Full Sail is another.

  • Sean Lake

    This is exactly what Full Sail University does. It has monthly graduates, many low income folks whose only option is to get FAFSA loans and for those that can’t afford the extra amount due, they offer a “non affiliated special” loan at a very high interest rate.

    Interesting that AI is “It’s like they’re pumping photographers out like little cookie cutters.”(from the article). Many for profit schools are doing this as well. The dreamy eyed young student doesn’t see the trap falls through all the “if you dream it you can make it.” hype.

    Every month, Full Sail pumps out graduates, who in many cases do not get jobs. Very scary thought that AI got sued for the same thing that FS does every month.

    I think the other thing that should be added. There will always be students graduating with a real talent, prodigies even, so they will get jobs more likely than most. So for those groups saying that they have graduates, have the graduates that could have gone to community college and graduated with the same degree and still have gotten the job. The basic fact is, a lot of these schools are in it for the money only. If you happen to learn something, then great, but the real problem is the average student WILL NOT learn as much as they need in order to be trained for even an entry level position. Again, I’m not referring to the naturally talented ones that either have previous experience or are just that, prodigies.

    These schools need to be investigated.

  • Sean Lake

    I do agree with what you said about the loans that they “encourage” you to acquire with, “you can’t continue unless you pay this left over amount that your FAFSA didn’t cover.”

    However you stated, “f you want a job in the industry, teach yourself in your spare time and apply, or ask to come in a few days a month for experience. Companies have lots of monkey work they need people to do.”

    If you want to teach yourself in your spare time, why not save $65K or so and just pay $400/ year for digital tutors. The whole point for people enrolling in a school is to get TRAINING so that they are employable. Imagine if students aspiring to become doctors, she through all the training at the end and found out, “oh you might want to study anatomy and dissecting on the side?”

  • Ron Stanford

    I once visited a local College Institute, and asked about picking up a class or two. Nope, I was informed, they ONLY do full time students. This place is a scam.

  • MostlyPerfect

    They should have spent some of that money on lobbying our government. That way our elected officials would be too afraid of losing that re-election cash to go after them. Hell, just 1 billion of that 11 billion would have had congressmen on the television going “Well it’s not right what they doing but… Hold on let me make sure their check cleared. It did! Where was I? Oh yes, going after them would hurt the economy. Our hands are tied. It’s a real shame.”

  • Timothy Kelley

    Its the same situation with the audio production people. 15 to 30 people starting the program. About 10 graduating every 3 months. Simply not enough infield careers to go around. I did because I am a musician, and after 4 years in the navy, going back into music (nose dive is more appropriate) was the only thing I could do to bring some sanity back into my life.

  • Kyle J. Holman

    In a way I agree with your sentiment. You reap what you sew, but you can do the same for a third of the price at a tech College.

  • Andre5000

    HIGHLY correct. The lawsuit, the Bittel, and a a dozen other articles all go into great detail describing how worthless and out-of-date the instruction is.

  • Andre5000

    Bachelor of the Arts for Programming? They learned how to code in cross-stitch?!? That’s the plot of WANTED, dang it!

  • T.J. Diggs

    The problem here isn’t ‘fast track’ programs. There are fast track programs for a variety of fields, even nursing. The issue is standards and regulation. For each and ever academic program there should be recognized minimum standards. We do this for many other academic fields today (Social Work, Psychology, Medicine, etc..). Most of those fields have requirements and accreditation that schools must pass in order for students to go there. Just because this school is teaching graphic arts and photography, shouldn’t make it exempt from some sort of minimum standards. We’ve let a lot of these unaccredited for-profit schools spring up.. and it’s time to put them under the same standards as other colleges.

  • JasonMankey

    What a completely stupid comment. The school is a private business funneling its students to a private bank (Wells Fargo). The problem is our government not being involved in education. Higher education is ridiculously expensive, but doesn’t have to be. If we had public universities with reasonable tuitions these sorts of problems wouldn’t exist.